Texas–Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros men's basketball

The Texas–Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros men's basketball team, or UTRGV Vaqueros, represents the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, Texas, United States. The school's team currently competes in the Western Athletic Conference. They play their home games at the UTRGV Fieldhouse. The Vaqueros are one of 45 Division I programs to have never appeared in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.

UTRGV Vaqueros men's basketball
2021–22 Texas–Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros men's basketball team
Texas–Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros logo.svg
UniversityUniversity of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Head coachMatt Figger (1st season)
ConferenceWestern Athletic Conference
LocationEdinburg, Texas
ArenaUTRGV Fieldhouse
(Capacity: 2,500[1])
ColorsOrange and gray[2]
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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours

NCAA Tournament Champions
NCAA Tournament Runner-up
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1963†, 1964†
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1963†, 1964†
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1962†, 1963†, 1964†, 1968*
NCAA Tournament Appearances
1962†, 1963†, 1964†, 1968*
*at Division II level
† as NAIA member
NIT Tournament Appearances

The team's current identity was established after the University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA) were merged in 2015. The UTPA athletic program, nicknamed "Broncs", was directly converted to that of UTRGV, with UTPA's WAC membership and athletic history transferring to the new institution.[3]


Beginnings (1952–1958)Edit

The Broncs first began play in 1952 under their then-current institutional identity of Pan American College, as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. In their first ever season (coached by L.A. Youngman), the Broncs finished 11–10. They joined the Big State Conference before the next season, but the Broncs finished 6–11 overall with an 0–6 conference record. Harry Meng took over the team the next two seasons, but he did not fare any better, going 2–20 and 4–20 in his two seasons. John Donnelly took over as coach, serving from 1956 to 1958, with his tenure marked by 4–16 and 5–14 records, respectively.

Sam Williams era (1959–1973)Edit

Sam Williams took over the program in 1958. During that season, he led them to a 12–11 record, the first season with a winning record since 1952. The next year, he led them to a 17–9 record, and a 7–3 conference record, their first ever season with a winning conference record. Despite finishing with a 15–16 record, the Broncs made their first ever postseason appearance in 1961, playing in the NAIA District Playoffs. They were beaten in two games by Texas State, 83–64 and 73–72. In 1962, the Broncs finished with a 26–4 record. This time, the Broncs finally made their first NAIA Men's Basketball Tournament appearance after beating Texas State twice in a row, 71–68 and 67–61. The Broncs got to the second round before losing to the Ferris Institute. This was their final season in the Big State Conference, with the Broncs becoming an Independent after the season ended.

The Broncs finished 25–6 in the 1962–63 season. They beat McMurry 77–51 in the NAIA District Playoffs to make their second straight NAIA National Tournament appearance. The Broncs subsequently won the 1963 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, winning five games by an average margin of 20.4 points. Lucious Jackson was awarded the Chuck Taylor Most Valuable Player Award for his 93 rebounds in 5 games for an average of 18.6 rebounds per game.

The following year, the Broncs finished with a 28–6 record, the most victories the team ever had in a season. Once again, the Broncs prevailed in the NAIA District Playoffs, beating McMurray 86–81 to advance to the Tournament again. The Broncs went to the NAIA National Championship once again, but they lost to Rockhurst. Despite the loss, Lucious Jackson was awarded the Chuck Taylor Most Valuable Player Award once again, for his 67 rebounds in 5 games (for a 13.4 rebounds per game average) and his 124 total points for a 24.8 game average. In his three tournaments, he scored a total of 301 points and 180 rebounds. In 1965, the Broncs finished 19–7, but they failed to advance past the NAIA District Playoffs in three games, including the final game by one point in Edinburg. The following year, they finished 15–12, but lost in the NAIA District Playoffs again, this time to Midwestern State, 81–77 and 84–75. A 15–9 season the following year failed to yield another shot at the District Playoffs.

In 1968, the Broncs (which had become Pan American University in 1965) qualified for the 1968 NCAA College Division Men's Basketball Tournament with a 21–6 record culminated by a 19–3 end to a season that had zero losses at home. They were placed in the Southwestern Region. They beat Jackson State 96–73 to reach the regional final and potentially be one of the last 16 teams in the National Finals. However, they lost to Trinity in overtime, 87–83. This was their last Tournament appearance of any kind until 1981. Since 1962, the Broncs had dual membership with the NAIA and NCAA Division II, but they transitioned into Division I before the 1968–69 season. That year, the team fell to 9–16. The following year resulted in one less win, but the 1970–71 season bounced back to a 13–13 record; this was the team's first .500 record in Division I play. The team finished 17–7 the following year, but did not qualify for any postseason. The team fell to rock bottom in 1972–73, winning only 4 games in their worst season since 1956. This was the final season for Williams. During his 15-year tenure, Williams had led the team to 11 winning seasons, with four 20-win seasons. His 244 victories is still the most in program history. Decades later, the university rededicated the center court of the fieldhouse in honor of Williams.[4]

Abe Lemons years (1973–1976)Edit

Abe Lemons took over the program to begin the 1973 season, which ended with a 13–9 outcome. The following year, he led them to a 22–2 record, the most since the 1967 season. In his third (and last) season, he led them to a 20–5 record. After the season, he left to take the job at Texas.

Bill White era (1976–1982)Edit

Bill White took over as coach to begin the 1976 season, and he led them to a 16–10 record. The following year, the team improved to a 22–4 record. After a 13–13 season in 1978, the team joined the Trans America Athletic Conference (now known as the Atlantic Sun Conference) for the 1979–80 season, going 20–8 and 4–2 in conference play. However, they reverted to Independent status after the season ended. In 1980, the Broncs finished 19–10, but the season was highlighted by victories over eventual champion Indiana, defending champion Marquette, and eventual Sweet Sixteen participant Wichita State. They appeared in the 1980 TAAC Men's Basketball Tournament, beating Hardin–Simmons in the Quarterfinals, but losing to eventual conference champion Centenary in the Semifinals. They were rewarded for their season with an appearance in the National Invitation Tournament. They lost to Tulsa 81–71. This was their last appearance in a postseason for the team until 2018, and it was also their final year in the TAAC before reverting to independence. After losing all five senior starters, the team finished 5–20 season the following year, and White was subsequently replaced by Lon Kruger.[5]

Lon Kruger era (1982–1986)Edit

Lon Kruger led the team to a 7–21 record in 1982, but they improved every subsequent season, to 13–14 in 1983, to 12–16 in 1984, to 20–8 in 1985. Kruger left for Kansas State after the season ended.

Kevin Wall era (1986–1992)Edit

In Wall's first year, the team finished 15–13, in their last season as an Independent before joining the American South Conference to begin the 1987–88 season. After two seasons of teetering on .500 (14–14, 4–7 in conference) and above .500 (15–13, 4–6 in conference), the Broncs finished 21–9 in 1989, with a 7–3 conference record, the most wins since 1977. However, the next two seasons ended with losing seasons of 7–21 and 4–25 (with 2 conference wins in total), and Wall was fired. The American South Conference merged with the Sun Belt Conference after 1991, and the Broncs stayed within the conference.

The Wall era saw another change in the school name; during the 1989 offseason, Pan American joined the University of Texas System and became the University of Texas–Pan American.

Mark Adams era (1992–1997)Edit

The team's woes continued in the first season under Adams, finishing with a 2–20 record (with a 2–16 conference record), their worst season since 1954. However, they improved to 16–12 (along with a 9–9 conference record) the following year. After a 14–14 season in 1994, they dropped to 9–19 the next year, but dropped even further in 1996, falling to 3–25, with only one conference win. In March 1996, the University acknowledged violations by the men's basketball program, specifically the conduct of illegal off-campus camps for basketball, free medical treatment for players and disregarding instructions by both the school and the NCAA on procedures of investigation.[6] Adams was fired after the season ended.

Delray Brooks years (1997–1999)Edit

Delray Brooks coached the team to a 3–24 record in their final season with the Sun Belt Conference in 1997, and led the team to a 5–22 season the following year. On August 23, 1999, Brooks was fired. Notably, less than two months later Brooks was indicted by a grand jury on a felony theft charge for an allegation regarding depositing a $25,000 check from Southwest Missouri State into his personal account and subsequently making withdrawals from the account. He denied making the deposit or instructing a third party to do so, although he consents that the alleged $25,000 was added to his account. Less than a year later, he pleaded no contest and received 10 years of probation.

Bob Hoffman era (1999–2004)Edit

After two seasons of 12 victories each, he led the team to a 20–10 finish in 2001, their first season over .500 since 1993. They plummeted to 10–20 the following year, and he finished his tenure with a 14–14 finish.

Robert Davenport years (2004–2006)Edit

Davenport led the team to a 12–16 record for the first time since 1999 in his first season. A 7–24 record in his second season proved to be his last season with the Broncs.

Tom Schuberth years (2006–2009)Edit

Tom Schuberth led the team to a 15–15 record in his first season, their first .500 team in three years. They improved to 18–13 the following year, the most victories since 2001. However, they finished 10–17 in 2008, and Schuberth's contract was not renewed after the season. Subsequently, it was found out that during his tenure, over 44 impermissible calls were made to 13 student-athletes from 2006 to 2008, along with paying inducements to one student-athlete, who also supervised workouts with an UTPA coach. It was found that the University had started their investigation in September 2008, which led to giving themselves a two-year probation sanction (starting in 2010), with the NCAA accepting UTPA's self-imposed penalties and choosing not to impose additional sanctions.[7]

Ryan Marks era (2009–2013)Edit

With the advent of a new coach came an acceptance into the Great West Conference, the first time the Broncs had been affiliated with a conference since 1997. Marks' two first seasons ended with 6 victories each before a slight improvement to 11–21 in 2011. Despite the team rising to a 16–16 overall record (and 5 victories in 8 conference games) the following year, his contract was not renewed.[8]

Dan Hipsher era (2013–2016)Edit

Alabama assistant coach Dan Hipsher, who previously served as head coach at Akron, Stetson, and Division III Wittenburg, was hired in 2013. The Broncs joined the Western Athletic Conference prior to the 2013 season. That year, they finished 9–23, with a 5–11 conference record. In their final season under the Bronc identity, the team finished 10–21 overall, with a 4–10 conference record, though they did win their final home game as the Broncs vs UMKC, highlighted with a buzzer beater 2-point shot as time expired. The 2015–16 season was their first season as the UTRGV Vaqueros, and they finished the season 8–22, with a 4–10 conference record. The school removed Hipsher from his head coaching position on March 15, 2016.[9]

Lew Hill era (2016–2021)Edit

Oklahoma assistant coach Lew Hill was named the new head coach on March 31, 2016.[10] In his first season at UTRGV, the team finished 10–22 overall, with a 2–12 conference record. In the 2017–18 season, the Vaqueros went 15–16 while winning going 6–8 in WAC play before losing in the Quarterfinals to Seattle. This was the most wins by the team since the 2012-13 season in which they won 16 games. The Vaqueros were invited to the 2018 College Basketball Invitational, their first postseason berth since 1980, where they lost to New Orleans in the first round.[11]

The following season, the Vaqueros improved. They went 19–16 in the regular season while going 9–7 in WAC play. This is the first winning season for the team since the 2007-08 team along with the first time they achieved a winning conference record since 1994-95. The Vaqueros were invited to the 2019 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. This is the program's first CIT appearance along with their second consecutive season with a postseason bid, the first for the program since the 1963 & 1964 seasons. They were designated to host the First Round game vs Grambling on March 20, the first time UTRGV has hosted a postseason tournament game since hosting a game in the NAIA District Playoffs in 1965 and the first at the UTRGV Fieldhouse. Facing off against, the Vaqueros narrowly won 74-73, winning on a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining. It is their first postseason victory since 1968. They will move on to play Texas Southern on March 25, once again hosting.[12]

Hill died at age 56 on February 7, 2021, late in his fifth season as coach.[13]

Matt Figger era (2021–present)Edit

On March 29, 2021, Matt Figger was named the new head coach of the Vaqueros.[14]

All-Time Statistical LeadersEdit

Career leadersEdit

Category Total Player Career
Points 1,880 Otto Moore 1964–68
Assists 771 Jesus Guerra 1972–76
Rebounds 1,679 Otto Moore 1964–68
Steals 231 Lalos Rios 1995–99
Blocks 216 Pete Perry 1971–73

Single season leadersEdit

  • Points scored: 919 (Marshall Rogers – 1975–76)
  • Assists: 323 (John Wilbanks – 1977–78)
  • Rebounds: 626 (Lucious Jackson – 1962–63)
  • Steals: 105 (Mire Chatman – 2001–02)
  • Blocks: 120 (Pete Perry – 1972–73)

Single game leadersEdit

  • Points scored: 58 (Marshall Rogers vs Texas Lutheran – 1976)
  • Assists: 22 (John Wilbanks vs Arkansas State – 1977)
  • Rebounds: 35 (Otto Moore vs Lamar Tech – 1966)
  • Steals: 10 (John Wilbanks vs Texas A&I – 1977)
  • Blocks: 11 (Pete Perry vs Lamar – 1972)

All-time season resultsEdit

Results accurate as of the end of the 2017–18 season.[15]

Season Record Conference record Coach
1952–53 11–10 n/a L.A. Youngman
1953–54 6–11 0–6 L.A. Youngman
1954–55 2–20 0–8 Harry Meng
1955–56 4–20 0–10 Harry Meng
1956–57 4–16 0–10 John Donnelly
1957–58 5–14 1–10 John Donnelly
1958–59 12–11 3–5 Sam Williams
1959–60 17–9 7–3 Sam Williams
1960–61 15–16 5–3 Sam Williams
1961–62 26–4 9–1 Sam Williams
1962–63 25–6 n/a Sam Williams
1963–64 28–6 n/a Sam Williams
1964–65 19–7 n/a Sam Williams
1965–66 15–12 n/a Sam Williams
1966–67 15–9 n/a Sam Williams
1967–68 21–6 n/a Sam Williams
1968–69 9–16 n/a Sam Williams
1969–70 8–16 n/a Sam Williams
1970–71 13–13 n/a Sam Williams
1971–72 17–7 n/a Sam Williams
1972–73 4–22 n/a Sam Williams
1973–74 13–9 n/a Abe Lemons
1974–75 22–2 n/a Abe Lemons
1975–76 20–5 n/a Abe Lemons
1976–77 16–10 n/a Bill White
1977–78 22–4 n/a Bil White
1978–79 13–13 n/a Bill White
1979–80 20–8 4–2 Bill White
1980–81 19–10 n/a Bill White
1981–82 5–20 n/a Bill White
1982–83 7–21 n/a Lon Kruger
1983–84 13–14 n/a Lon Kruger
1984–85 12–16 n/a Lon Kruger
1985–86 20–8 n/a Lon Kruger
1986–87 15–13 n/a Kevin Wall
1987–88 14–14 4–7 Kevin Wall
1988–89 15–13 4–6 Kevin Wall
1989–90 21–9 7–3 Kevin Wall
1990–91 7–21 1–4 Kevin Wall
1991–92 4–25 1–15 Kevin Wall
1992–93 2–20 2–16 Mark Adams
1993–94 16–12 9–9 Mark Adams
1994–95 14–14 10–8 Mark Adams
1995–96 9–19 6–12 Mark Adams
1996–97 3–25 1–17 Mark Adams
1997–98 3–25 3–15 Delray Brooks
1998–99 5–22 n/a Delray Brooks
1999–00 12–16 n/a Bob Hoffman
2000–01 12–17 n/a Bob Hoffman
2001–02 20–10 n/a Bob Hoffman
2002–03 10–20 n/a Bob Hoffman
2003–04 14–14 n/a Bob Hoffman
2004–05 12–16 n/a Robert Davenport
2005–06 7–24 n/a Robert Davenport
2006–07 15–15 n/a Tom Schuberth
2007–08 18–13 n/a Tom Schuberth
2008–09 10–17 n/a Tom Schuberth
2009–10 6–27 4–8 Ryan Marks
2010–11 6–25 2–10 Ryan Marks
2011–12 11–21 5–5 Ryan Marks
2012–13 16–16 5–3 Ryan Marks
2013–14 9–23 5–11 Dan Hipsher
2014–15 10–21 4–10 Dan Hipsher
2015–16 8–22 4–10 Dan Hipsher
2016–17 10–22 2–12 Lew Hill
2017–18 15–18 6–8 Lew Hill
2018–19 19–16 9–7 Lew Hill
2019–20 14–16 9–7 Lew Hill

Coaching historyEdit

Stats updated as of the end of 2020–21 season

Coach Career Record Conference Record
L.A. Youngman 1952–1954 17–21 0–6
Harry Meng 1954–1956 6–40 0–18
John Donnelly 1956–1958 9–30 1–20
Sam Williams 1958–1973 244–160 24–12
Abe Lemons 1973–1976 55–16 N/A
Bill White 1976–1982 95–85 4–2
Lon Kruger 1982–1986 52–59 N/A
Kevin Wall 1986–1992 76–95 17–35
Mark Adams 1992–1998 44–90 28–62
Delray Brooks 1998–1999 8–46 3–15
Bob Hoffman 1999–2004 68–77 N/A
Robert Davenport 2004–2006 19–40 N/A
Tom Schuberth 2006–2009 43–45 N/A
Ryan Marks 2009–2012 39–89 16–26
Dan Hipsher 2013–2016 27–66 13–31
Lew Hill 2016–2021 67–77 28–34
Jai Steadman (interim) 2021 1–6 0–6
Matt Figger 2021-present 0-0 0-0
Totals 870–1,042 134–267

Conference historyEdit

Conference Years
Independent 1952–1953, 1962–1979, 1980–1987, 1998–2009
Big State Conference 1953–1962
Trans America Athletic Conference 1979–1980
American South Conference 1987–1991
Sun Belt Conference 1991–1998
Great West Conference 2009–2013
Western Athletic Conference 2013–present


NIT resultsEdit

The Vaqueros have appeared in one National Invitation Tournament (NIT) as the Pan American Broncs, losing their only game.

Year Round Opponent Result
1981 First Round Tulsa L 71–81

CBI resultsEdit

UTRGV has appeared in one College Basketball Invitational (CBI). They have a record of 0–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
2018 First Round New Orleans L 74–77

CIT resultsEdit

UTRGV has appeared in one CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). Their record is 1–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
2019 First Round
Second Round
Grambling State
Texas Southern
W 74–73
L 85–94

NCAA Division IIEdit

During their time as Pan American, they appeared in the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament (then known as the NCAA College Division Basketball Tournament) once. The Broncs (now known as the Vaqueros) went 1–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
1968 Regional Semifinals
Regional Final
Jackson State
W 96–73
L 83–87OT

NAIA resultsEdit

During their time as Pan American, they appeared in the NAIA Men's Basketball Championships three times, going a combined record of 10–2, including an NAIA title.

Year Round Opponent Result
1962 First Round
Second Round
Ferris Institute
W 61–58
L 60–66
1963 First Round
Second Round
Elite Eight
NAIA National Semifinals
NAIA National Championship
Peru State
Northern Michigan
Grambling State
Western Carolina
W 83–48
W 64–41
W 99–73
W 90–83
W 73–62
1964 First Round
Second Round
Elite Eight
NAIA National Semifinals
NAIA National Championship
La Crosse State (Wis.)
St. Cloud State
Manhsfield State
W 94–82
W 81–76
W 82–69
W 56–54
L 66–56

Retired numbersEdit

UTRGV has retired three jersey numbers.[16] On February 16, 2019, the Vaqueros retired Fred Taylor's 30 jersey.[17]

Texas–Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros retired numbers
No. Player Position Career
30 Fred Taylor G / SF 1967-70
34 Otto Moore C 1964–67
54 Lucious Jackson PF 1961–64

Vaqueros of noteEdit

The Vaqueros have had 18 of its player selected in the NBA draft, with six of them playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA).[18]

Year Round Overall Player Team
1962 7 59 Howie Montgomery San Francisco Warriors
1964 1 4 Lucious Jackson Philadelphia 76ers
1965 6 52 Mitchell Edwards Philadelphia 76ers
1966 14 105 Jim Harter Baltimore Bullets
1967 12 124 Anthony Eatmon Baltimore Bullets
1968 1 6 Otto Moore Detroit Pistons
1970 2 27 Fred Taylor Phoenix Suns
1971 10 158 Calvin Oliver Houston Rockets
1973 2 34 Pete Perry Los Angeles Lakers
1973 15 196 Reese Stovall Cleveland Cavaliers
1974 3 46 Bruce King New Orleans Jazz
1976 2 34 Marshall Rogers Golden State Warriors
1978 5 106 Michael Edwards Denver Nuggets
1978 8 168 Henry Taylor San Antonio Spurs
1979 2 28 Danny Salisbury Golden State Warriors
1980 8 172 Bill Bailey San Antonio Spurs
1981 2 34 Ken Green Denver Nuggets
1986 7 148 Michael Anderson San Antonio Spurs


  1. ^ "UTPA Fieldhouse". UTRGV Vaqueros Athletics. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  2. ^ "UTRGV Color Palette". Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  3. ^ "UTRGV 2015-16 Men's Basketball Media Guide" (PDF). 2015-06-22. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  4. ^ "UTPA rededicates Sam Williams Court, Williams named Head Coach Emeritus". Utpa.edu. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  5. ^ "UTPA to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of NIT Men's Basketball Team :: The ceremony will take place prior to the Broncs contest on Saturday (Feb. 25)". Cstv.com. 2006-02-22. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  6. ^ "UTPA Acknowledges Men's Basketball Violations". Apnewsarchive.com. 1996-05-24. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  7. ^ "Bad Broncs: UTPA men's basketball hit with NCAA sanctions | Texas-Pan American". themonitor.com. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  8. ^ "The Official Athletics Website of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - UTPA Athletics Not Renewing Coach Marks". Goutrgv.com. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  9. ^ WRITER, GREG LUCA | STAFF. "UTRGV re-assigns men's basketball coach Dan Hipsher". The Monitor. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  10. ^ "Oklahoma assistant hired as UT Rio Grande Valley head coach". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  11. ^ http://www.themonitor.com/sports/utrgv_vaqueros/article_ee58cb12-2580-11e8-afda-739067b537cf.html#
  12. ^ "Men's Basketball to Play in Postseason, Host CIT Game Wednesday".
  13. ^ College Basketball Head Coach Died In His Sleep This Morning
  14. ^ "UTRGV Athletics Taps Matt Figger to Lead Men's Basketball Program". Goutrgv.com. 2021-03-29. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  15. ^ "2017 18 MBB DMG" (PDF).
  16. ^ "UTRGV Athletics Retires Otto Moore's Jersey".
  17. ^ "UTRGV Athletics to Retire Fred Taylor's Jersey".
  18. ^ "2017 18 MBB DMG" (PDF).

External linksEdit